This year I turned 40. In the lead-up to my birthday it was interesting to observe that the general consensus from those around me was quite negative. Comments like, ‘you are over the hill’ or ‘it all goes downhill from now’ etc. seemed to be the popular theme, but for me turning 40 was something I embraced wholeheartedly. In fact, I had been looking forward to it for some time.
The best way I can describe it is that turning 40 for me felt like a landmark point in my life.
It felt like it was offering me an opportunity to really sink in to myself and to appreciate who I am a whole lot more. Not that we have to wait until we are 40 to do this, but none the less, this is what it was for me.
Turning 40, and every day on from here, feels like it is a time of consolidation and more importantly, an opportunity to really settle into and enjoy being true to myself. Slowly, over the past few years, the pressure I’d previously had on myself to be this and that has been falling away, being replaced with the feeling that no matter what I’ve ever done, and no matter what I do from this point, I’m actually okay. In fact, I am more than okay.
The forties feel like a time to get to know myself on a whole other level; to really claim my own feelings, who I am, my likes and dislikes, my quirks, the whole of it. Throughout my twenties and thirties I struggled a lot with self-acceptance, often judging myself, and feeling like I never quite measured up. As I now enter my fortieth year, there is a solid voice inside of me saying ‘there is no time for that Anna, you’re amazing, and it is time to claim it’.
The commonly held belief that it all goes downhill as we get older has not been my experience at all. In fact, I’m finding that it just keeps getting better…. more acceptance, a deeper knowing of myself, more joy and greater understanding.
Sure, the body starts to go out of shape a little, we get a bit softer, a bit looser, we can’t do certain things we may have been able to do in the past, but again, this is just another opportunity to accept ourselves more deeply; the wisdom and beauty we each carry within us. This for me is far more precious than any picture-perfect body image has to offer.
I feel blessed to have many elder men and women in my life who I am watching age with both joy and vitality, and I value the inspiration they are offering to our communities.
Anne McC., Australia